|Vol. 14 No. 5 May 2012||
Ernest S. Underwood
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, And from north to east; They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, But shall not find it. In that day the fair virgins And strong young men Shall faint from thirst.” (Amos 8:11-13)
Most folks living in America today have no personal concept of what a famine is. All of their lives they have had the necessities of life. Yes, there are those who are in poverty, but not such poverty those have had who have lived in lands that have experienced famine. The word famine is defined as “an extreme scarcity of food” (Webster). It does not mean that it is just that one does not have the money to buy the needed food, but it means that there just is not any food available.
Think of the awfulness of the reality of what Amos prophesied. There would be a famine, but it would not be of bread or of water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. Let me illustrate. An enemy comes into our land and is victorious in his attempt to defeat us. He is a hater of God and His Word. He gives his soldiers the order to destroy every Bible and every document wherein is found any passage from God’s Word. All those who are known to have a knowledge of that Word are put to death. The land is now without God’s comforting Word. No biblical words of comfort or encouragement when one is sick, none when a loved one dies. How each of us would long for just a page from the Word of God, but there is none. Continuing our illustration, what if perchance someone in the community where we lived discovered a box containing a hundred Bibles that the enemy had overlooked? How much would you be willing to pay just to have a copy? If you were one of the fortunate ones to obtain a copy, would you do with it just as you presently do with the copy you now have? Would you relish the time that you were able to spend reading it, or would you just stuff some old photos or crushed flowers in it and use it for an ornament on a table somewhere?
It might be good to look at a few instances recorded in the Bible where men were bereft of any knowledge of it, or at least, had no desire to have that knowledge.
In each of these passages, we are compelled to ask the question, “Why? Why were these people in such a famine of the Word of God in their wicked and unrighteous lives?" We believe that the apostle Paul answers this question in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. Here he stated, “…and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
Though we may not consider ourselves to be in the same immoral category as some in these passages, if we are not increasing our knowledge of God’s Word, wherein is the difference?
Knowledge – Knowledge – Knowledge! Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Peter stated, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue…” (2 Peter 1:2-3).
All things are ready… Come to the feast! There is no reason why any of us should be famishing for a lack of God’s Word. Are you experiencing a famine or a feast?
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). Everyone needs comforting. Everyone has periods of sadness. Everyone experiences troubles in life. Without comfort, some things would seem insurmountable (this word means that it would be impossible to overcome the problem or situation).
God created the world. He created humans. He knows exactly what we need. He knows best how to comfort us. We can pray to Him and ask for His help. He will providentially help every one of us as He sees best.
Every person will sin. Sin separates us from God, but God made a way for us to be cleaned of our sins – the scheme of redemption or plan of salvation. It is by obeying the scheme of redemption that we gain comfort from our sins and shortcomings. We learn the scheme of redemption from the Scriptures. We also learn about great people in the past who obeyed God and overcame their sins and shortcomings. By learning about them, and obeying like they obeyed, we gain comfort. “For whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
Notice that in our first verse, God gives all comfort. If we look to Him, we can have that comfort. We cannot ignore God or His Word and have that comfort. To gain His comfort, we must do our part. We must actively look to Him. We must fully trust Him. We must believe that He gives comfort.
Study your Bible. Learn what you must do to gain the comfort of God. Help others to gain that comfort as well.